Writers Across the Curriculum: A Speaker Series

The Writing Center at Michigan State University is proud to present this year’s virtual speaker series, titled “Writers In the Disciplines.” Bringing together conversations about Tier II writing and writers, writing across the curriculum (WAC) and writing in the disciplines (WID) work, this series will address both pragmatic and human responses to these two questions: What does it mean to be a writer in the academy? And what support do teachers (or tutors) of writing need to empower their students? At the core of writing pedagogy is the practice of centering the writer – the centering of process over simplified product. This series seeks to think through and critically analyze how WAC/WID programming can better engage and support writers themselves – not just their writing – through considering intersections of identities ranging from personal to professional.

This series will feature WAC/WID scholars, colleagues who lead WAC/WID initiatives at our fellow Big 10 Institutions, and researchers who study the relationship between writing and anti-ableism, anti-racism, and anti-colonialism. By thinking both broadly – in terms of globalism, multilingualism, and intersectionality – and specifically – in terms of programming, structure, resources, and support – we hope to foster a robust conversation about the ways in which personhood deeply affects both writers and their writing. As people across the world grapple with their experience of the pandemic, their hopes for their future, and the ways they contextualize or describe their experience of their “places” – whether academic, internal, or literal – we see powerful connections between identity and story. We bring our whole selves to our work, and we bring our whole selves to the page. This series explores those connections as they play out in classrooms and in writers themselves.

Writing Wrongs: Black Women, First Year Writing, Pedagogy, and Promise

Thursday, March 16th, 1:00–2:15 p.m. Eastern Time 

This talk highlights various ways the first year writing course has been designed before, during, and since the onset of the intersectional endemics of our current international health crises, as well as the resurgence of open and active racial aggression manifesting through attacks on Critical Race Theory and current social justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. The talk shares ways that the first year writing course can become a space of free expression, wellness, and empowerment for students in the midst of repressive circumstances through which students are constantly navigating, and the ways the writing center might support students in these courses. Ultimately, the talk will make suggestions for how others might implement some of these strategies with students in their own writing courses. 

Speaker Bio

Dr. Michelle Bachelor Robinson is the Director of the Comprehensive Writing Program at Spelman College, where she teaches writing courses in the English Department. Actively involved in community-engaged research and writing in historically Black spaces, her publications include the senior contributing author for OpenStax Writing Guide with Handbook, co-editor of The Routledge Reader of African American Rhetoric, articles in Peitho: Journal of the Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition and Council of Writing Program Administration (CWPA). In addition to her research and teaching foci, Dr. Robinson has a long history of working in the field of assessment. Before becoming a professor, she taught high school English for more than a decade in the Florida public school system, during the onset of statewide writing assessment, which led the nation with this initiative. Dr. Robinson currently serves as the Higher-Ed Co-chair for the Advance Placement English Language and Composition Development Committee and a member of the CLEP College Composition Test Development Committee.  Additionally, Dr. Robinson has been called upon to travel to college campuses and facilitate assessment of campus-wide writing programs.

Dr. Michelle Bachelor Robinson, a Black woman with long hair